Smile Politely

Weekender: June 21-23

Friday, June 21st

Eat at Caribbean Grill, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., about $15/person

Caribbean Grill is delicious. We recently had some out of town guests, and instead of cooking or going out, we got CG takeout. It was a Saturday, and the daily special is jerk ribs, which are, as you might imagine, awesome. (Friday’s special is oxtails.) You can even order online ahead of time, and schedule your pick up (or delivery). And do order extra sauce. (JH) Photo by Jessica Hammie

Try contra dance with a Pride focus, Phillips Recreation Center, 8 to 11 p.m., $5-10

Contra dance is a traditional American dance that is similar to square dancing, with a caller and string band music. The Urbana Country Dancers regularly host contra dances at Phillips Rec Center, and this month they will be honoring Pride. There will be gender neutral calling, rainbow face paint, and music from Fiddlin Banjo Billy & The Old Time Players. (JM)


Go see Jaik Willis, Watson’s Shack and Rail, 10 p.m., no cover

I’m an unapologetic early-to-bed kind of person, but Jaik Willis playing a show at Watson’s tomorrow is a very convincing argument for staying out past my preferred 8 p.m. curfew. Willis is a one-man-band, playing several instruments, singing, and beatboxing (listen here). In case you’re still unimpressed for some reason, the fact that he’s played every music festival famous enough that you’ve heard of it, and shared bills with artists like Willie Nelson, Bela Fleck, Justin Townes Earl, and dozens more bands known for their excellent musicianship. He also plays an 11-piece drum kit with. His. Feet. I just talked myself into it. I’ll see you there. (NL) Photo from Facebook event page

Saturday, June 22nd

Get a buzz photographing bees, Anita Purves Nature Center, 9 to 10:30 a.m., free

National Pollinator week is June 17-23 and Anita Purves Nature Center in Urbana is celebrating by hosting its annual BeeSpotter Blitz. The event includes a guided expedition through Meadowbrook Park’s Sensory Garden and Spomer Prairie. Guest will meet at the Garden Pavilion (at Anita Purves) and are encouraged to snap photos of the bees they encounter and upload them too This event aims to bring recognition to the declining population of pollinators such as honey & bumble bees. Organizers ask that you call (217) 384-4062 by today (Friday) to let them know you are coming. More information is available at the BeeSpotter website. (SP) Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Check out the group show at the Cinema Gallery, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., free

This exhibit just came onto my radar, but we have still until July 6th to stop by and see it. “Interpretations” is a group show featuring painters Sandra Batzli, Cindy Carlson, Beth Chasco, Sandra Hynds, Judy Jones, Jana Mason, Ann McDowell, Bonnie Switzer, Ann Rund, and Gayle Tilford. (DD) Photo of work by Sandra Hynds from Cinema Gallery’s Facebook page

Make friends at Jettie Rhodes Day, King Park, 12 to 4 p.m., free

20 years ago, Jettie Rhodes decided to host a cookout for her neighbors, after noting that there was a lack of community programming, and not enough of them really knew each other. She passed away after that first event, but her family carried on her legacy by making it an annual occurrence. Now in partnership with the Urbana Park District, it’s become a celebration that draws hundreds for free food, music, and connections with local officials and community organizations. All are welcome to join in the fun. Read more about it here. (JM) Photo from Jettie Rhodes Facebook page

Support girls (and women!) in the music scene at the Girls Rock C-U Showcase, Blackbird, 4 p.m.

Over this past week, the annual Girls Rock! C-U camp has taken place in town. Throughout the course of the week, campers learn the basics of playing an instrument, form a band with fellow campers, attend workshops, write and record an original song, and it all culminates in performing live on stage at the showcase. This year there are two bands, and each will be performing live for the first time at Blackbird this afternoon. Why does this show deserve your time and attention? Check out this quote from a Rolling Stone article: “A new study detailed the massive gender gap in the music industry, with women lagging behind men as artists, producers and songwriters…In the group, male producers outnumber female producers 49 to one.” We can’t fix the whole world at once, but we can definitely do our best to make our corner of the music scene as inclusive, equal, equitable, and supportive as possible. (NL)

Get down in Downtown Urbana, Main Street, 5 to 8 p.m., free

This is a new community festival that kicked off last month, and this weekend is the next round. There will be music from Dance Music Therapy and Big Mo and the Phat Groove, as well as activities for kids, an arts market, and opportunities to connect with community organizations. You can get a taste of what to expect by checking out our photos from last month. (JM) Photo by Melinda Edwards

Sunday, June 23rd

Eat little crustaceans, Crawfish Boil, Crane Alley, 11 a.m. to whenever, $30/person

Crane Alley’s annual crawfish boil is back. If you like crawfish, this is your event. Half Acre will be there with a bunch of beer (available inside and outside). This is quite the patio party. Don’t be afraid to put on your bib and get to it. (JH) Top photo by Rebecca Wells 

Enjoy the sculptures at your local park, anytime, free

As we prepare for the unveiling of the 2019 Public Arts League sculpture plans this coming Tuesday, study up on on our existing public arts collections by taking a walk through your favorite park or downtown C or U plaza. Fresh air, exercise, native prairie plants, and free access to interesting art. (DD) Photo of Bobby Joe Scribner’s Races sculpture from Public Arts League website

Learn to brew your own booch, Delight Flower Farm (4410 N Lincoln Ave, Champaign, 5 to 6:30 p.m., $20

Kombucha, that is. (Not hooch.) If you’re not drinking kombucha, is your gut even healthy? Are you even getting your probiotics and healthy bacteria? The stuff is addictive, and like most habits, your wallet takes a hit. Learning to make it yourself is really the way to go here, plus you’ll be adding flowers, which is super cool. Get your tickets here. (JH)


All event information is accurate to the best of our abilities, but sometimes we make mistakes and sometimes event information, times, prices, etc., change after we look them up. Whenever possible, we’ve provided a link to the original event page; you should always double-check the source before you make any firm plans. Thanks for your understanding.

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